Stephanie Sanzo Complete Deadlift + Abs Workout Plan

No matter what your passion in the gym is (bodybuilding, powerlifting, general fitness, etc.), there’s no denying that the deadlift is an outstanding exercise for any goal.

Anyone who’s followed Stephanie Sanzo knows full well how much she loves this total body muscle building exercise.

In Stephanie’s own words:

I think it’s one of the best ways to build confidence and overcome limiting beliefs 💯 You have to overcome that initial fear before you attempt to lift the bar up .. but once you do .. you then have an opportunity for growth.” 

Stephanie Sanzo's Top 3 Reasons to Deadlift


Deadlifts are a true test of physical and mental strength - which can be used to determine your current capabilities. 

Total Body Muscle Builder

Deadlifts work more muscle groups in the body than just about any other exercise giving you the biggest “bang for your buck” from a single movement. From deadlifts for abs and legs to arms and shoulders, this workout works them all.

Ideal for Overload

Deadlifts have a high capacity to overload - which means you will be able to increase your weights quite drastically and be provided with a tangible number to measure your progress

To help you build muscle, strength, and confidence, we teamed up with Stephanie to bring you a behind-the-scenes look at her complete deadlift workout.

Check it out!

Stephanie Sanzo Complete Deadlift Workout Routine

Warm Up

Prior to lifting, Stephanie warms up her lower body by walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes. This enhances blood flow to all the muscles of the lower body, priming them for the heavy lifting ahead.

Following the light walking warm up, Stephanie next does some light ab exercises to light up the core and make sure everything is activated, as the core is heavily involved in the deadlift.

For her pre-deadlift abs workout, Stephanie does a circuit of:

  • Crunches - 20 reps
  • Plank - 60 seconds
  • Captain’s Chair Leg Raises - 10-15 reps
  • Bird Dog - 10 reps per side

*Perform the ab circuit 2-3 times before moving onto the dedicated lower body warm up:

Lower Body Specific Warm Up

Perform 10 reps per exercise in a circuit:

  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Goblet Squat
  • Reverse Hyperextension

After the circuit is complete, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat 1-2 more times.

Note: You should work up a light sweat during this dedicated warm up, but don’t push so hard that you over-fatigue the muscles and hinder your performance in the actual workout.

Stephanie Sanzo Complete Deadlift Workout Plan




Sumo Deadlift


10 / 6 / 6 / 5 / 5 / 3

Conventional Deadlift



Stiff-Leg Deadlift

See Notes


Romanian Deadlift

See Notes


Trap Bar Deadlift

See Notes


Stephanie Sanzo Deadlift Tips

Sumo Deadlift

Recently, Stephanie has been experimenting with widening her stance to help her with the lockout of the exercise. With a wider stance, she feels she can strengthen the lockout portion of the lift as well as maintain a more upright torso, thereby placing less strain on her spine.

Before each rep Stephanie uses 3 cues to make sure she’s properly setup for the lift:

  1. “Shoulders Under the Bar”
  2. “Knees Behind the Bar”
  3. “Drive Feet Through the Floor”

When you give every rep this type of attention, you help dial-in your focus and make sure you’re ready and raring to go.

Stephanie’s 3 keys to improving on the deadlift over time are:

  • Patience
  • Consistency
  • Constant monitoring of form 

By regularly practicing the deadlift, and constantly assessing your form, you will build muscle and strength safely. 

Don’t be afraid to strip some weight off, and re-work your technique from the ground up in order to keep progressing and improving in your fitness journey.

Conventional Deadlift

Now, after the sumo deadlifts from earlier are completed, you have the choice of which deadlift variation you choose to perform -- conventional, stiff-leg, Romanian, or trap bar.

Just pick one of these to do after your sumo deadlifts are over, not all four.

Following the sumo deadlift, Stephanie moves onto the conventional deadlift as her accessory movement for the day.

As with the sumo deadlift, your focus should be on driving the floor away, rather than pulling the bar up from it. While this slide change in mindset might seem inconsequential, it helps lifters keep their hips from shooting up too fast at the beginning of the pull.

Stiff-Leg Deadlift vs Romanian Deadlift

These two exercises are often viewed as one in the same. After all, they both start with the same set up (bar held with straight arms and the torso upright) and both target the muscles of the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, there are a few important differences between the two.

First, during the stiff-leg deadlift the bar moves out in front of the body, whereas during the RDL, it remains very close to the legs. Second, during the stiff-legged deadlift, the legs generally stay locked and the hips don’t move. During the RDL, your main focus is on driving the hips back as far as you can, and stopping when you feel a maximum stretch on the hamstrings.

Generally speaking, the RDL usually stops when the bar is around mid-shin height and for the stiff-legged deadlift, the bar is brought lower, usually to the instep of the shoes. 

Due to this, the stiff-legged deadlift is generally a bit more taxing on the spinal erectors and low back than the Romanian deadlift. Additionally, the stiff-legged deadlift is usually performed on a block or elevated platform to allow for maximum stretch and avoid the plates contacting the ground.

Trap Bar Deadlift

The final deadlift variation you can use to supplement your sumo deadlift is the trap bar deadlift.

While the trap bar deadlift does work the posterior chain and train the hip hinge movement pattern, it more resembles a hinge/squat hybrid, due to the increased action at the knee joint.

The trap bar deadlift may also be a bit easier for less experienced lifters to learn and a bit safer on the lower back since the handles are in line with the body and not in front of you as it is with a conventional barbell deadlift.

Plus, the higher set of handles may also make the trap bar deadlift a more suitable option for those with hip mobility issues.

Using the higher set of handles will place more emphasis on the musculature of the back, while using the lower set of handles will be more taxing on the lower body. Additionally, the lower handles also provide a greater overall challenge to the body and the range of motion is increased by several inches.

Crush Your Deadlift Workout with Ape Sh*t MAX!

Deadlifts are an incredibly demanding exercise, one that requires the utmost concentration, determination, and effort. To help get in the right frame of mind for heavy deadlift sessions, try Primeval Labs Ape Sh*t MAX pre workout.

Ape Sh*t MAX is a great-tasting, high-energy pre workout packing an impressive 400mg of caffeine per serving. Also included in every serving are quality doses of ultra-premium ergogenics like 3DPump-Breakthrough, Nitrosigine, elevATP, Beta Alanine, Betaine, and TeaCrine.

Ape Sh*t MAX comes in two delicious flavors and packs all the energy you need to crush your workout and still be productive afterwards.